At A Glance
It's been a little while since we have had an upgrade of this popular 3 strut kite from FLYSURFER, and once again, it is a marked improvement on its predecessor. Designed as an all-rounder, the Stoke takes decades of design knowledge from FLYSURFER's successful foil kite range and puts it into the 2 kite LEI offering. The Stoke is billed as a wave and freeride kite for the beginner to professional kitesurfer, an all-rounder for those who demand a kite which offers only the most connected feeling.
New for this third version of the Stoke, FLYSURFER has introduced the Triple Ripstop Special Coated Longevity Textile (SLC-TEX), which offers a mammoth 60% less porosity and 30% higher tear strength. These qualities, along with the weight remaining the same as a 2x2 yarn fabric, ensure your kite should last well in heavy wipeouts for years to come.
FLYSURFER has focused on creating their lightest and most streamlined kite with the Stoke. Using both a Force Frame and Profile Support, they have managed to knock an incredible 17% of the kite's weight off when compared with the previous model. This, as well as the newer material and design, have created a kite which has FLYSURFER's cleanest air flow for an enormous wind range and power on demand.
The short bridle system on the Stoke uses pulleys to ensure a smooth feel throughout the turn and aids the easy and accessible relaunch.
The one-pump design uses the large inflate pin style valve for maximum efficiency, and there are bumper pads and reinforcements in key areas, as to be expected. Not normally worthy of a mention, we really enjoyed the bag which came with the Stoke - versatile with multiple pockets for everything you should need and comfortable for a hike to an uncharted spot fully loaded.
Sizes: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12
We used the Force Control Bar with the Stoke, though you do have the ability to use the Infinity XX Control Bar for a more streamlined experience should you wish. The Force Control Bar is again an upgraded bar; however, as with all FLYSURFER products, they do not number or 'version' the edition. The new product is simply released when they feel appropriate and with enough change to warrant the upgrade.
The Force Bar itself is simple and well thought out, with 3 size options to suit your style and kite size. The ergonomic grip covers the bar stick with integrated bar end line winders. The power lines are Dyneema coated for longevity and smooth movement through the centre of the bar and are connected to the Quick Release 4.0, which is a simple push-away chicken loop system. You have the option here to alter the distance between the leader lines to customise the feel of your kite, too, which is well worth playing around with to get your perfect set-up.
The Force Adjuster system uses a clam cleat with a larger style pull handle to ensure easy and smooth depowering on the go. We did find the 3 lines going through the centre of the bar a little messy at first, but once riding, it was not noticeable at all.
In The Air
The Stoke immediately is an incredibly solid kite in the sky, and this is felt both through the bar and harness. The long throw on the bar makes for easy manoeuvring on the beach with minimal power, and the easygoing nature of the kite means no erratic movements will come from small mistakes on the bar end.
The Stoke has a very unique feel to it, and this is absolutely no bad thing. It locks in with considerable power and powers you along with an accessible upwind angle. The long throw on the bar enables you to really dump some power should you need to, and we were impressed with the Stoke's ability to maintain the feel of the turn at all points through the bar reach and at all stages of trim.
For those starting out on their kitesurfing journeys, the Stoke is incredibly user friendly, with excellent feedback through the bar to help guide you. We found the relaunch to be second to none with that elusive auto-relaunch in play in all but direct downwind crashes.
For some classic freeride jumps and spins, the Stoke really is great fun. It won't shoot you up that high nor that aggressively; however, you certainly hang around for quite some time and can enjoy a silky smooth landing even if your timing is slightly off. The loops on the Stoke again are not going to get you into any big air contests; however, such is the fun and dependable nature of the kite that you absolutely will be inspired to throw them earlier and bigger than before, which obviously will give legend status on your beach.
Into the waves, and the Stoke really felt at home. The power delivery is incredibly smooth, and the turning force is a lot less than some other all-rounders in its class, making throwing the kite about a simple process before that powerful drive kicks in. There is good drift, and that big throw on the bar gives a very usable amount of power.
We loved the easy and dependable nature of the Stoke! You could take a break from kiting for a good few years and jump back on this kite with seemingly no loss of skill, such is its confidence-boosting abilities. It is a great all-around option for those who do a bit of everything with their kitesurfing, and love playing in the waves. We did, however, find the kite to be relatively heavy in lateral pull; there is a solid pull in your harness, which some riders may find tiring if very well powered.
Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by the Stoke; it has a definite place in the market with a unique feel and incredible user-friendly appeal. The new material FLYSURFER has used for this version makes the kite much lighter, which in turn results in better performance in a wider wind range. The performance for both freeride and wave is incredibly accessible, and this kite would suit beginners as well as those who need a dependable partner for all conditions and disciplines.
This review was in Issue 96 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Flysurfer